Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter

Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, KG (May 5, 1542 – February 8, 1623), known as Lord Burghley from 1598 to 1605, was an English politician and soldier.

Exeter was the eldest son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and the half-brother of Robert Cecil. He served in government under Elizabeth I of England, first serving in the House of Commons in 1563 and representing various constituencies for most of the time from then until 1593. He was knighted in 1575. His father's death in 1598 brought him a seat in the House of Lords, the 2nd Lord Burghley, as he then was, served from 1599 to 1603 as Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire and Lord President of the Council of the North. It was during this period that Queen Elizabeth made him a Knight of the Garter in 1601. He was created Earl of Exeter on May 4, 1605, the same day his half-brother Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cranborne was created 1st Earl of Salisbury. Unlike his brother, however, he did not become a Government minister under James I.

The Cecil family fostered arts; they supported musicians such as William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Robinson. The latter, in his youth, was in the service of Thomas Cecil [William Casey (pub.), Alfredo Colman (pub.), "Thomas Robinson: New Citharen Lessons (1609)", 1997 Baylor University Press, Waco, Texas, ISBN 0-918954-65-7] .

Thomas Cecil married Dorothy Neville, the daughter of John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer by his wife Lucy Somerset daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester.

By his wife, Thomas Cecil had eleven children:
*William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter
*Catherine Cecil
*Lucy Cecil, married William Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester
*Mildred Cecil
*Sir Richard Cecil of Wakerley
*Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbleton
*Mary Cecil married Edward Denny, 1st Earl of Norwich
*Dorothy Cecil
*Elizabeth Cecil
*Thomas Cecil, Esq
*Frances Cecil married Nicholas Tufton, 1st Earl of ThanetLord Exeter is buried in a tomb in the warrior chapel at St Mary's church in Wimbledon village.


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